Flexibility loss is common place as one progresses through their working career. The combinations of decreased activity levels, faulty posturing and stress, all play a contributing role in this ongoing problem. Taking a few minutes during the day to stretch can help break the recurring symptoms of muscular pain and tightness.
This article will cover stretching for the neck and upper back. Gently apply the stretch for 10-20 seconds, repeat 4-5 times per session. Multiple sessions can be performed during the day. The sensation of a mild to moderate stretch, at times in combination with mild pain, is appropriate, as long as this resolves with the discontinuation of the stretch. If there is any lingering discomfort or sharp pain, discontinue the particular stretch.
Poor posturing will often create local soreness and possibly headaches at the junction of the head and neck. To stretch this area, slowly tuck chin towards the
Neck Forward Flexion
This is a bit more aggressive than the previously described stretch, and will also help relieve local tightness from the base of the head to the area between the shoulder blades. Interlock fingers behind head, bring elbows together in front of the face, allow the weight of the arms to lower the chin toward the chest. If this seems too aggressive, interlock fingers behind the neck.
This is the large muscle that runs from the top of the shoulder to the side of the neck and tends to become sore when things get stressful. Place one hand behind back at belt level, grasp
To stretch muscles in the front and side of the neck, try these. Place both palms firmly on the breast bone with pressure downward to stabilize. Slowly look up toward the ceiling until a light stretch is felt under the chin. Next, place both hands below the collar bone, stabilizing gently by pushing downward. Rotate head away from that side and look toward the ceiling. Discontinue either stretch if a pinching sensation is experienced in the back of the neck.
Shoulder Blade Stretch
Interlock fingers, turn palms away from face and reach forward with both arms until a light stretch is felt between the shoulder blades. Slowly drop head forward to intensify.
Mid Back Stretch
Sitting on the floor, place a pillow directly behind, and fall back over top the pillow. Interlock fingers and place on the floor just above the head, allowing elbows to drop to the side. Bend at hips and knees, bottoms of feet together and let knees drop to the side. If a stretch is not felt in the mid back or chest area, use a thicker pillow. Moving the pillow a bit higher may also improve the quality of the stretch.